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‘The best evocation I’ve read of London in the ’80s’ Neil Tennant

‘A suspended act of retrieval, a partisan recall; a sustained, subtle summary of our recent past, and an epitaph for a future we never had’ Philip Hoare

‘Michael Bracewell proves himself to be nothing less than the poet laureate of late capitalism’ Jonathan Coe

A vivid eulogy for London of the late 1970s and early 80s – the last years prior to the rise of the digital city. An elliptical, wildly atmospheric remembrance of the sites and soundtrack, at once aggressively modern and strangely elegiac, that accompanied the twilight of one era and the dawn of another. Haunted bedsits, post-punk entrepreneurs in the Soho Brasserie, occultists in Fitzrovia, Docklands before Canary Wharf, frozen suburbs in the winter of 1980…


Michael Bracewell proves himself to be nothing less than the poet laureate of late capitalism
Jonathan Coe
The best evocation I've read of London in the '80s
Neil Tennant
A tone poem of clean reflection and hallucinatory detail
Jon Savage
Michael Bracewell's exquisitely written book is a suspended act of retrieval, a partisan recall; a sustained, subtle summary of our recent past, and an epitaph for a future we never had. Told in shards of images, in postcards from the streets, clubs, clothes and chords, SOUVENIR reclaims the capital city. It is the story of a London told in a demi-decade,1975-1908 - one which formed the modern world. After SOUVENIR, that time and place will be forever remembered, in Bracewell's elegant prose
Philip Hoare
Nimble and impressionistic, Souvenir ... creeps up on you, at once intimate and remote, austere and yet beguiling. Souvenir is a one-off
Rich, evocative... Part eulogy, part elegy, Bracewell's blurred hallucinatory memoir seems to have no grand purpose other than to transport and the reader has no option but to give in to its powerful, hypnotic prose and imagine themselves as a time traveller or ghost, adrift in a vanished London poised somewhere between post-war despondency and futuristic optimism
Andrew Male, MOJO
These atmospheric recollections of the capital of the 1970s and 80s, and the artists it inspired, conjures a city - and a culture - in a less rapacious age ... Neither a memoir nor a work of psychogeography, Michael Bracewell's Souvenir has elements of both, its shifting, impressionist narrative made up of recalled moments, places and encounters
Evoking the London of four decades ago in impressionistic and allusive prose that intentionally reads at times like poetry, or an experimental novella: history recalled in non-fiction that mimics fiction. This is a lost world as seen through the eyes of Blitz club regulars, ICA bookshop frequenters, readers of the Face and I.D. magazine - young people drawing inspiration from the likes of William Burroughs and Guy Debord, the residual energy of punk and glam rock, Weimar Berlin, or the newer electronic sounds of Soft Cell and Throbbing Gristle...Throughout, the imagery is precise and carefully judged...Bracewell's book is fittingly named. It is a souvenir of the spirit of a particular London...it succeeds very well
Michael Bracewell's latest book is an elating elegy, a portrait of the years 1979-86 in the form of glimpses, or near-vignettes, half-remembered, half-imagined, and heaving with imagery and semi-colons. There are 26 in all, starting with the emergence of colour and fantasy in the "pop-style zeitgeist" and ending with Richard Rogers's audacious Lloyd's of London building
Proustian ... Bracewell - a novelist and cultural commentator whose topics have ranged from Roxy Music and Bridget Riley to Damien Hirst and Gilbert and George - summons-up images from the past, but their potency gives them an eerie clarity as if they are being experienced now ... In today's (un)social media-polarised society it provides, possibly, the most important reminder of what has been lost (temporarily, one hopes) in much of present-day society - the capability to engage in independent thought - and which it needs to recover if both social stasis and pointless conflict are to be avoided. For this Bracewell deserves our thanks, not only for what he resurrects from the past, but also for reminding us of what we need now and for the future.
Nicky Charlish, 3:AM magazine
Complex, rich and near-perfect in its management of its peculiar tone, it's one of the most remarkable works on pop history in recent memory
Dan Barrow, THE WIRE